As Media Consumption Changes, Influencer Marketing Can Become More Useful

As a 35-year-old, I’m on the fence in terms of how I consume different types of media. My generation is probably the last to consume television and treat it like a date; I need to be in front of my screen at a specific date and time. From my perspective, television created celebrities that you could use as a spokesperson so they could push your brand. (Remember Micheal Jackson with Pepsi?)

But today’s consumers don’t hold that traditional way of consuming media. Television has given place to different types of streaming media, such as YouTube. People are looking for entertainment on other platforms, including social media. In fact, 71% of millennials use social media daily and 76% watch online videos. The number of hours a day spent watching TV is diminishing with each generation; baby boomers spend more than three hours a day watching TV while millennials watch fewer than two hours of TV. Instead, millennials are spending more time on social media.

On social media and on different platforms, there are many people pushing content. Some have more success and therefore more followers. More often than not, the content is pushed with a specific activity in mind. For example, you can find YouTube channels where a person “unboxes” gadgets, others who show how to put make-up on, and even some content creators who simply show themselves playing video games. Some of these people have millions of followers who they have an influence on. If you were to sell a video game and a person who reviews video games and has millions of followers were to encourage people to buy your game, you would be marketing directly to the right people.

That’s basically what influencer marketing is: Marketing a product or service to people who have an influence in a specific market, rather than marketing to your client segment as a whole. One study has shown that influencer marketing brings in 11 times more return on investment that advertising.

 Getting credible people to influence followers is a good idea. Why not use a high-profile celebrity?

George Clooney is a celebrity with millions as a result of his numerous famous acting roles over a few decades. However, he is not on social media. Instead, look at social media influencer PewDiePie, for example, who has more than 54 million followers on Youtube, over 7 million on Facebook and about 9.79 million on Twitter. Teens are more attached to YouTube stars than traditional celebrities and they consider YouTube stars 17 times more engaging than mainstream celebrities, indicating that there is definitely a shift in who is considered influential by younger generations.

As a result, we have a new breed of brand advocates; 62% of young adults would consider trying a product when it is recommended by an influencer, while only 49% who would consider if it were a Hollywood celebrity. On top of this, 40% of people said they have made a purchase after seeing it used by a social media influencer.

If you’re going to work with influencers, do it right.

Before you start marketing your brand via influencers, there are some laws and regulations. You can’t do this in just any fashion. If you do, you can be fined. (The Federal Trade Commission recently updated the “Dot Com Disclosures.”) PewDiePie, for example, was involved in an advertising scandal last year. He, as well as other influencers, were paid by Warner Bros. to positively review a video game but did not properly disclose that they were paid to create these videos.

So if you’re working with influencers, do it right. I would even suggest going forward with an agency to help in regard to this type of strategy. They usually have a bank of influencers for specific demographics and sectors of activities also, which facilitates contacts.

In an age where your clients are probably online and might also use adblockers that hinder the efficiency of your online advertising, why not look into this relatively new form of marketing? Influencer marketing will help you build brand credibility with a specific client base. If done right, you can build trust towards your company and create brand ambassadors. Millenials will not only purchase products and services based on influencers, they will also share on social media, helping you get extra reach. After all, isn’t it easier to market to a smaller niche of specific people who have influence, than try to reach each and everyone from your market?

Article Written by Jonathan Laberge of Forbes